“Remember Those Who Walked Here Before You”

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May - 22 - 2011
Nalin Gunasekera

Trinity College Kandy is the flagship school of Sri Lanka Rugby. In 1906 the school that carries the slogan “best school of all” took to what was largely an unknown sport in the island nation. It was a challenge from an old Trinitian Mr E. L. Blaze, then the Founder/principal of another top school across town (Kingswood College). Trinity Captained by H. S. Perera played their hearts out against a much more experienced opposition, who took to the game in 1891. The team coached by Mr A C Houlder was mentioned at assembly as the courageous rugby team By principal Mr A. L. Fraser and with the sound of applause the “Trinity Rugby” Legend began.

The game of rugby in Trinity grew like wild fire through dense bush. Every free time was spent playing rugby, balls had to be confiscated to get students back into the classrooms. In 1915 two students, A. Halangoda and R. Ondaatje were awarded the first “lion” and called “lionsmen”. It is the highest honor a student gets at Trinity College and has become one of the most prestigious awards to schoolboy sportsmen. The only problem the school had was finding decent opposition, resorting to playing a few clubs and beating them even touring teams. It took till the early 1940’s for the first real challenge to come for trinity’s rule of the beautiful game in Sri Lanka.

After two decades of trying finally success!!! 12th July 1941 Trinity was beaten by Royal College and later in Kandy 1943 with this one of the oldest most prestigious schools announced their arrival into the Sri Lanka rugby Landscape. The retiring principal Mr E. L. Bradby(Royal) donated a Shield and this started the blue ribbon event “the bradby shield”. The finest products from both tribes year after year battled for this ultimate prize, the stories culminating from it past through generations. Most of whom that has experienced the thrills and spills to date regard it as some of the best memories in life.

Challenged but never defeated, Trinity for a large part carried their mantle as the super power in Sri Lanka schools Rugby. There were the glorious 1950’s, when they were unbeaten for the large part of the decade not to mention the amazing 60s, then the 70’s, and 80’s, I think you get my drift. To mention all the famous names produced by this great school would be a separate book by itself, not to mention impractical. But names like Kadirgama, Danapala, Kobbekaduwa, Marambe and Rambukwalle should be a good teaser to any Sri Lankan. Not only as rugby players but the sheer quality of men.

Even after 100 years this school continues its force and produces some of the finest rugby players and gentlemen. One visiting journalist named it the great rugby player factory of Sri lanka, very few would disagree. Finally, If the Awe of the New Zealand All Blacks in the game of Rugby is about a nation that produces so many amazing Rugby players disproportionate to the population, Then surely this school in the hill capital of Sri Lanka which for a large part of the century had a`roll of less than 2000 students Should sit next to it. Your honor, I rest my case. Respice Finem!!!

Even our College song has rugby terminology (verse 2)

“The stars and sounding vanities,

That half the crowd bewitch,

what are they but inanities,

To him that treads the pitch?

And where’s the wealth, I’m wondering,

Could buy the cheers that roll,

When the last charge goes thundering,

Towards the twilight goal”.

Article Written By – Nalin Gunasekera

Credit goes to A. Jayalath for sending this article to trinitylk.com

 

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